WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (Prensa Latina) NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced today that they will work on developing a thermonuclear rocket engine, which will enable future crewed missions to Mars.
Thus, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and DARPA will partner with the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations or Draco program.
NASA will work with our long-term partner, DARPA, to develop and demonstrate advanced nuclear thermal propulsion technology beginning in 2027, said agency administrator Bill Nelson.
With the help of this new technology, he added, astronauts will be able to travel to and from deep space faster than ever before, an important ability to prepare for manned missions to the neighboring planet.
The use of a thermonuclear missile allows for a faster transit time, which reduces risks to astronauts, the statement said.
Reducing transit time is a key component of human missions to Mars, as longer journeys require more supplies and more powerful systems.
Faster and more efficient transportation technology will help NASA achieve its goals from the Moon to Mars.
Other benefits of space travel include increased science payload capacity and more power for instruments and communications.
According to experts, a thermonuclear rocket engine uses a fission reactor to generate extremely high temperatures.
The engine transfers the heat produced by the reactor into liquid fuel, which expands and is expelled through a nozzle to propel the spacecraft.
Nuclear thermonuclear missiles can be three or more times more efficient than conventional chemical propulsion.
The last US tests of nuclear thermonuclear rocket engines took place more than 50 years ago as part of NASA’s Nuclear Engine for Rocket Applications and Rover projects.
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